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Visitors with Oriol Vilanova’s Old Masters, 2017–ongoing

Visitors with Oriol Vilanova’s Old Masters, 2017–ongoing. Photograph by MK Photo.

Exhibition Spotlight: Oriol Vilanova's Old Masters

June 7, 2019

The next time you’re at the museum, you might notice that a series of otherwise unremarkable blue jackets have appeared alongside favorites from the collection like Andy Warhol’s Portrait of Seymour H. Knox, 1985; Henri Matisse’s La Musique, 1939; and James Ensor’s Le feu d’artifice (Fireworks), 1887. These unexpected additions to the museum’s walls are part of the exhibition Oriol Vilanova: Anything, Everything, which is on view through July 21.

Visitors with Oriol Vilanova’s Old Masters, 2017–ongoing

Visitors with Oriol Vilanova’s Old Masters, 2017–ongoing. Photograph by MK Photo.

The pockets of each jacket contain postcards featuring artworks by the artists of adjacent paintings (so, for instance, the jacket hanging next to La Musique is filled with reproductions of other works by Matisse). Vilanova’s project is interactive—you’re invited to reach into the jackets and leaf through the postcards (but please return them when you’re done!). Entitled Old Masters, the work addresses how we weigh the value of paint-on-canvas “masterpieces” versus their photographic reproductions. Museum souvenir postcards, like those in Vilanova’s jackets, arguably allow us to have a more personal relationship with art, transforming it into objects we can handle, hang on our fridges, or carry in our pockets. In this light, it’s not so clear which object—original or reproduction—is the more “valuable.”

Oriol Vilanova: Anything, Everything is on view through July 21.

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